DeWine shows off knowledge of our Valley

We don’t always agree with our governor’s stance on various issues. Of course, that’s probably the case with every elected official serving Mahoning Valley constituency.

But since taking office more than three years ago, we continually have been surprised pleasantly by Gov. Mike DeWine’s understanding and apparently institutional knowledge of the Mahoning Valley, including the challenges our region faces.

During DeWine’s time in the governor’s office, this newspaper’s editorial board and reporters have had many opportunities to speak directly with him about his plans, challenges and vision for Ohio. These conversations have occurred at news conferences, in meeting rooms at this newspaper’s offices, by telephone or via video conferencing. Sometimes these get-togethers are “one-on-one” with our newspaper, and other times we are part of a statewide pool of journalists, meaning the governor may have little time to prepare for questions pertaining to any individual city or region in Ohio.

No matter what the case, DeWine consistently has demonstrated a very good understanding and knowledge of the challenges facing our Mahoning Valley.

We view that as very impressive, particularly considering that we are not one of Ohio’s big “three C” communities — Columbus, Cleveland or Cincinnati — Ohio’s most-populous cities.

During a recent conversation with a group of newspaper reporters and editors from all over Ohio, DeWine appeared by his comments to be well-versed on issues involving our region. He had good things to say about the Valley and its potential.

Specifically, the governor said he has been “very optimistic about the future of the Valley.”

DeWine said he has told JobsOhio, which handles the state’s economic development, to focus a lot of its efforts on communities outside of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

“We’re going to pay attention to them but think about places like the Mahoning Valley,” he said.

Specifically, DeWine mentioned Youngstown State University and its president Jim Tressel by name, calling the university “a player in the community.”

“They’re not separated from the community. They’re not just academia. They understand what’s going on in the community, and they understand they have the potential to be a significant factor in the community.”

DeWine said he’s also seen a “difference in people’s attitudes in the Mahoning Valley. I think the people are more optimistic, and that matters. The Mahoning Valley is a great place to raise a family. The cost of living is not high.”

Also, the area, “from a distribution point of view, is well-situated,” he said.

We applaud DeWine for making these comments, but more specifically, for the knowledge that allowed him to make these comments.

It should be noted DeWine also has been very good about granting time to the media at the beginning of each year in order to speak in generalities about the successes or failures of the past year and about his vision for the upcoming year.

This year’s annual recap took place via Zoom earlier this month. During the conversation, DeWine openly addressed a variety of topics posed by reporters ranging from COVID-19 to gun reform, from the state’s death penalty to legalized marijuana and much more.

Indeed, our position on these topics and many others may match or vary greatly from the governor’s stance. But at the end of the day, all these topics are of great interest to the constituency, and DeWine did not shy away from sharing his viewpoints on any of them.

We applaud DeWine for his availability in addressing questions with transparency. And we applaud his detailed Mahoning Valley knowledge.



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